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Trial Witness Statements under CPR Practice Direction 57AC—Where Are We Now?
30 June 2022
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One year from the release of Practice Direction 57AC (Witness Evidence at Trial), a number of recent cases have provided welcome guidance on its application and clarified some of the uncertainty surrounding witness statements for use at trial in the Business and Property Courts.
The cases suggest that the Courts are using Practice Direction 57AC as a tool to improve the content of witness statements, rather than as a means to punish non-compliance. To this end, the cases demonstrate that parties should use the Practice Direction as a genuine recourse to correcting statements that offend it, rather than as a weapon of litigation.
Compliance with the Practice Direction is primarily a matter for the parties; the parties should only seek the assistance of the Court where they have failed to reach agreement on whether and how a witness statement materially breaches the Practice Direction.
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